14 candidates have been ordained to serve in parishes across the Diocese.

Seven candidates were ordained Deacon and are entering their first year of training as a curate. A further seven candidates have completed their first year and were ordained Priest; they are now able to preside at the Holy Communion.

The Bishop of Worcester presided at both ordinations, assisted by the Bishop of Dudley, and the Revd Catherine Pickford, Adviser for Continuing Ministerial Development in the Diocese of Newcastle, preached.

Deacons prayingOrdained Deacon:

  • Kalantha Brewis, who will serve at St Barnabas with Christ Church, Tolladine in Worcester
  • Alex French, who will serve at St Mary, Oldswinford, Stourbridge
  • Rick Tett, who will serve at Holy Trinity, Eckington and St. James, Defford cum St. Peter, Besford
  • Orion Edgar who will serve in the Benefice of Pershore with Pinvin, Wick and Birlingham
  • Chris Enwerem, who will serve at St John the Evangelist, Dudley Wood & Cradley Heath
  • Sue Hale, who will serve at St Mark’s, Pensnett
  • Sallie Butcher, who will serve in Teme Valley North, Shrawley and Witley with Abberley

Priests 2016Ordained Priest:

  • Rachel Akers serving in Kidderminster East
  • Josie Calam serving in Areley Kings
  • Allison Davies serving at Holy Trinity, Redditch
  • Ian Evans serving in the Ipsley Team, Redditch
  • Laura Handy serving in the Droitwich team
  • Philippa Mary Sargent serving in Kempsey & Severn Stoke w Croome d'Abitot
  • Andrew Todd serving at St. Stephen’s Church, Barbourne

Bishop John said: "Ordination services are a great celebration of God’s call to serve. It is always a joy to ordain those who have responded to God's call to dedicate their life to the service of God and other people in ministry."

Both ordination services took place on Sunday 26 June in Worcester Cathedral. Priests were ordained at 10.30am and Deacons at 2.30pm.

See the photos from the ordination of Deacons

See the photos from the ordination of Priests

ENDS

Quotes and background information from the candidates:

Deacons

Kalantha Brewis (St Barnabas with Christ Church, Tolladine)

I was born and brought up in London. I moved to Worcestershire with my husband 19 years ago to pursue a legal career and raise a family. Neither of us anticipated that I would end up being called into ordained ministry! It has taken a long time to creep up on me- but I am very thankful –if rather surprised- to find myself on this particular threshold.

I have always enjoyed the privileges of hearing people’s stories, exploring faith with them, encouraging them and learning from them. The move from lay into ordained ministry is daunting but it has become clearer and clearer to me that this is what I was being called into. Training for ordination has been amazing and has expanded my thoughts and heart in ways I had not envisaged. The people I have trained alongside have taught me so much, and I am increasingly conscious of the need to keep looking, listening and learning.

One of the things I am most aware of is that none of us can minister in isolation- we need the support of our communities and churches- and I feel very privileged to have been invited to serve in a community which is new to me. I very much hope to be able, with that community, to uncover and explore the richness of God’s love for each of us, the fullness of life into which God calls us. It is central to me to carry a message of love, encouragement and consolation to people who feel that life has hit them hard- as indeed it hits most of us sooner or later.

I am extremely fortunate to have the support of my wonderful husband and daughters in this new chapter.

Alex French (St Mary, Oldswinford)

I was born and brought up in Manchester and have spent 20 years working as a secondary school teacher, teaching maths and economics in different schools across the country. My final teaching post was at Nunnery Wood School in Worcester, which I combined with training for Ministry part-time at Queen’s Theological College in Birmingham. Since leaving teaching last September I have been doing voluntary work at Maggs Day Centre and St. Paul’s Hospice.

It was in my early 20s when worship became more than something you just do at the weekend and I first started to get a sense of being called to do something other than teaching. However, I buried my head in the sand and hoped it would go away! About 5 years ago I decided to prove that there was nothing in the feeling, but ended up being accepted for ordination training! God never lets go.

I’m looking forward to working in the parish of Oldswinford, being part of the community and developing relationships. I’ve always had a strong sense of pastoral care – nurturing people and seeing them grown and develop. It’ll be great to shift from a school environment to something broader – being who God wants me to be. I have a real passion for helping people to discover and deepen their relationship with Jesus through every aspect of their lives, setting them free to live the life of love that God intended.

I have a thirteen year old son, George and outside of ministry enjoy being a rugby referee, fishing and walking – anything outdoors!

Rick Tett (Holy Trinity, Eckington and St. James, Defford cum St. Peter, Besford)

I have been a Church Army Officer for the past 10 years, working mainly in areas or urban deprivation. I began feeling a call to ordination around five years ago when I moved to Worcester to work in the Tolladine community. The vicar there at the time, Peter Haddleton, encouraged me to explore my vocation further and it has felt like the right path on which to continue my Christian journey.

I have specifically asked to do my curacy in rural ministry because it's not something I've done before. I'm looking forward to the new challenges this will bring and building relationships across a number of diverse church communities. It's heartbreaking to leave behind the community and schools that I work with in Tolladine, but I feel that God has called me on a new journey.

Before becoming a Church Army officer, I served in the Armed Forces for nearly 18 years. I have been married to Debs for 25 years and we have two boys: Joseph who is in the RAF and Jacob who is studying at Worcester University.

Orion Edgar (Pershore with Pinvin, Wick and Birlingham)

After many years spent studying theology, as well as being part of churches in Nottingham, Coventry, and Worcester, I’m really looking forward to moving to Pershore, where I will continue my learning and serve as a curate to the Abbey and several churches in the area. It’s been a privilege to prepare for my ordination in a residential community in Cambridge, but I’m happy to be returning to the rolling hills of Worcestershire!

I’ve spent time thinking carefully about God and philosophy, since I encountered Jesus and came to faith in my teens. For Christians, thinking is a part of our transformation, and it leads to action: discovering my calling to be ordained in the Church of England was a long and gradual process, but it’s a joy to be entering this new time when I bring that learning with me as I begin to serve the church and the people in Pershore and the surrounding area.

I grew up in St Albans, where I came to faith in Jesus in my teens, and went to Nottingham to study Philosophy and Theology. After University I worked as a DJ before returning to study. I finished a PhD in Theology in 2012, and worked with churches in Worcester, and for the bishop of Coventry, before training for ordination at Westcott House, Cambridge. I have recently published a book, Things Seen and Unseen (Cascade, 2016) based on my doctoral research. I like singing, cycling, reading, and cooking for my family and friends. My wife, Sharon, is an architect, and we have a one-year-old daughter, Joan.

Chris Enwerem (Dudley Wood & Cradley Heath)

Chris is originally from Nigeria, the youngest of six children and became a British Citizen in 2010. He is the son of Christian parents; his mother was a Roman Catholic and his father attended an independent African Church called ‘Holy Sabbath’. As a young child he was exposed to both traditions but was an altar boy and made his communion as a Catholic. Like many teenagers, he began to question his childhood faith but, one day, at 16, determined to disrupt a school Scripture Union class, found himself instead making a personal commitment to Jesus.

As a teenager he encountered the Deeper Life Bible church and began to have a strong sense that he was called to ministry of some sort in the future. Alongside his studies and then work, he served as youth pastor and as a pastor in Nigeria. He came to the UK to study theology at Redcliffe College and while studying spent time working in a care home as a care assistant/dementia link worker. During this time, he also met and married Foluso and they have three children – Comfort, Peace and Praise.

Chris & Foluso worked with European Christian Mission (ECM) and later with Operation Mobilisation (OM). It was during that time they moved to the Black Country, found a home in an Anglican Church and Chris began exploring ordained ministry with the Church of England.

He says “Theological training has revealed to me how little I know, and that Jesus Christ is the one who is/will be at work, not me. I am looking forward to the work God will do through me at St John the Evangelist, Dudley Wood and am really excited about walking with people on their own spiritual journey.

“I am filled with gratefulness to God, the Church of England (in particularly Worcester Diocese and ministry division), St John’s School of Mission in Nottingham and family and friends for great support during my exploration, training and ongoing training. I am looking forward to learning more new things and seeing God at work.”

Sue Hale (St Mark’s, Pensnett)

I feel immensely privileged to be serving as a Curate in Pensnett and Bromley and am looking forward to getting to know the people and the area. I feel both excited and daunted at the beginning of this new phase of ministry, wondering what God has in store for me. I have spent three stimulating years training part-time at Queen’s College, alongside people from many different backgrounds and churches. During that time, I have grown through my academic studies and learnt to appreciate more fully the breadth and depth of God’s love for all.

Having been brought up in the Christian faith as a child at home and school, this deepened when I began to attend church as a young mother. I felt a strong calling to ordained ministry during my first term of teacher-training as a mature student, while I was co-leading an outreach course. Since then, I have been teaching for twenty years, also juggling various roles at St Peter’s Lapal in the Halas Team and around Halesowen. My sense of calling has remained; I trust that God’s clock keeps perfect time. Initially, I plan to combine my Curacy with my part-time role as a Primary Teacher supporting children who arrive at school with little or no knowledge of English.

I am married to Neil and have two grown-up children. We enjoy spending time together, walking in the countryside and exploring places of interest. Music also helps me relax, as well as the theatre, films and reading.

Sallie Butcher (Teme Valley North, Shrawley and Witley with Abberley)

I was born in Solihull and spent most of my time there before moving to rural Worcestershire with my husband Richard in 1994. I spent the first 15 years of my working life in industry as a pension’s manager specialising in computer systems before stepping out on my own as a consultant which I did for 20 years. I retired from this last June which has freed me up to spend even more time in my local community and local church.

Just before we moved to Abberley I had been struggling with a sense that God was calling me to become more involved with the church but I couldn’t identify what the call was to. Whilst working on the Bishop’s Certificate Course someone suggested that I should think about Reader Ministry as a Licensed Lay Minister and it was one of those eureka moments – that was what God was calling me to. However, when I was licensed in 1999, I still had the feeling that God hadn’t finished with me yet.

I have really enjoyed my time as a Lay Minister which has enabled to do so much in ministry not just within the benefice in which I live but also within the Diocese and beyond. I passionately believe in this ministry and I have particularly enjoyed helping to train Readers within this diocese and elsewhere. Perhaps this was why I fought the call to ordained ministry for so long but God just wouldn’t give up! I have enjoyed my two year’s training with WEMTC and I look forward to my continuing journey with God which has already led to many places and encounters with people that I could never have imagined possible.

Priests

Rachel Akers (Kidderminster East)

My first year of curacy has been thoroughly enjoyable and I have been made to feel very welcome. I have had the privilege of working in a team ministry and I am very thankful to my incumbent Hugh, Team Vicar Robert, as well as the Lay Ministers and congregations for all their support and encouragement.

I look forward to being ‘priested’ and see it as an absolute privilege to serve God in this way. I am both humbled and excited, and if I’m honest, also a little daunted. However I have experienced God’s faithfulness in the past and I know that He will continue to be faithful as I put my trust in Him.

Josie Calam (Areley Kings)

My Deacon year has been a time of tremendous blessing and also a time of transition both mentally and spiritually. With the encouragement of my training incumbent, Mark, I have come to understand that priesthood is about ‘being’ not ‘doing’. My training parishes of Areley Kings and Astley have patiently encouraged this transformation and my thanks go also to my husband and family for being there during this time of transition. So as I prepare for my Ordination as Priest I feel a sense of peace and fulfilment about the call God has made on my life and a sense of excitement about where his leading will take me next.

Allison Davies (Holy Trinity, Redditch)

I am not sure what I expected from my first year of curacy, but since I started to serve God as an ordained deacon, it has been a journey of ongoing learning. Working across the five churches of the Holy Trinity parish in Redditch has been both exciting and challenging, not least because each church and community is so different to the others, but also because it has been a joy and a privilege to get to know each church congregation.

Meeting families who have brought their babies and young children for baptism into the church has been a real honour, and leading these services where the children are formally welcomed into the Church family, has been such a wonderful and humbling experience. Ministering at special services, especially at Christmas and Easter time and particularly when lots of children have come into church to learn more about God, has also been a real joy and blessing.

Throughout the year I have been supported by other clergy and lay leaders within the parish, and I have been so grateful for their ongoing help and encouragement. So as I go into my second year of curacy, now as an ordained priest, I look forward with hope and faith, to walking alongside others in these church communities in their journeys with God, and serving in whatever ways God calls me.

Ian Evans (Ipsley Team, Redditch)

Being an Assistant Curate training at Christ Church, Matchborough and a Minister in Secular Employment developing software for HCL a global software company has meant balancing the many calls on my time. A colleague, tongue in cheek, asked "which job are you moonlighting at?" It’s been a real challenge to think through the priorities of ordained ministry and work.

In both the church and work environment I am learning the art of listening and offering pastoral care as people share things of their lives; innocent conversations that lead to much deeper spiritual needs.

Being curate in Matchborough has given me great insight into what it means to be church in a community setting, especially welcoming community neighbours to the annual Fun Fest and Christmas Carol services.

As this Christ led journey enters into priestly ministry for parish and workplace, I'm looking ahead with both trepidation and excitement as the path unfolds.

I’m married to Judy with 2 grown-up sons, Dan and Jon, and daughter in law Naomi.

Laura Handy (Droitwich team)

My first year has flown by and I've had the privilege of beginning to get to know Droitwich and the surrounding area. It has been fantastic to get involved across the congregations and the wider community and I also now know what a ‘Monner’ is! I'm very thankful for the warm welcome I received.

Across a large and diverse area with seven churches across two Parishes, there is lots of variety, but it has been encouraging to see God at work in different times and in different ways right across the patch. This role means having the privilege of sharing in some of those moments, particularly in the highest and lowest times in people's lives.

In an area well-known for its community festivals (whether food and drink, arts, boats or cars!) it has been great to join in as the church explores new ways of being community together and continue to connect more creatively and meaningfully with the wider community.

Going forwards I'm looking forward to journeying with others through all seasons of life and continuing the adventure together of becoming and growing as disciples of Jesus. My hope is that many others will discover his goodness and join in the adventure.

Philippa Mary Sargent (Kempsey & Severn Stoke w Croome d'Abitot)

Just over a year ago, I moved to Kempsey and Severn Stoke, looking forward to the challenges ahead, but conscious of the need to trust in God to sustain me as I moved away from family and friends. In 12 short months, He has blessed me richly - I have found people who have encouraged and supported me, a ministry that excites me every day and a sense of purpose and joy in my new life. Serving as a deacon has been a tremendous privilege and had offered me lessons in humility and self-giving that I will always carry with me. Being ordained priest this Petertide, at a time when the Church of England is becoming so focussed on renewal, feels like setting sail into the unknown. As we seek to discern what God is doing in His Church, only He knows what priesthood will look like next year and in the years to come.

Andrew Todd (St. Stephen’s Church, Barbourne)

As I’ve compared notes on the past year with my fellow deacons, here in Worcester and elsewhere, the word which crops up most is “privilege”. It is a huge privilege to be invited to share in some of the most significant moments of people’s lives – the highs and the lows, the joys and the griefs. But it’s also a privilege to be able to walk alongside people in the ordinary times, which – let’s face it – make up the majority of our lives.

It’s all too common to hear it said that the Church is irrelevant today. But what I’ve experienced this year has been the complete opposite. Again and again, I’ve seen the Church right there with people in what is most real to them, making Christ’s love real. And simply by being there, even if words fail, the Church is a reminder of God’s closeness and care.

During the year ahead, the deacon’s responsibility – and privilege (that word again!) – to serve the Church will still be there. But with ordination as a priest it will take on a new focus: to help all God’s people to grow in their own priestly vocation of making Jesus present to the world. I can’t think of a higher calling or a greater joy, and I’m immensely grateful to all the many people who have helped me on my journey to this point.

ENDS

The Diocese of Worcester is one of 42 dioceses in the Church of England. It covers an area of 671 square miles and includes parishes in the County of Worcestershire, the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, and a few parishes in northern Gloucestershire, south east Wolverhampton and Sandwell.

From: Sam Setchell, Press Officer for the Diocese of Worcester and the Bishop of Worcester.

Tel: 01905 20537 Mobile: 07852 302516
Email: ssetchell@cofe-worcester.org.uk